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pdxuke
01-06-2013, 08:16 AM
SPOILER ALERT:

If you haven't taken the NAME THAT MARTIN TEST, you may want to do so before reading further. In this thread I reveal the answers. If you want to take the quiz first, go here
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?75039-Name-that-martin!


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In another post I did the great Martin Uke Test. I'm posting the results in another thread here, so we can discuss without spoiling it for those who want to keep guessing.

This was a fascinating experiment. I must confess that even yours truly, the custodian of these ukes, had to look at the playing order I wrote down to see which uke was which. This tells me, to my ears, that all of these instruments sound great. And they do. So--Martin builds great sounding ukes--any era.

At the end I'll recap everything. But let me reveal in order of the popularity of the voting as of this writing.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=47219&d=1357500372


UKE # 5 got the most votes. And uke # 5 is the 1948 Vintage Style 0. It sounds best to me as well, but only by a whisker. But a wonderful balanced tone.

UKE # 3 got the next number of votes, tied with UKE #1. And that one is the NEW Style 2. I think it is wonderful. I like it more and more. It is probably the most comfortable to play. The set-up must be perfect for me.

UKE # 1 was tied with UKE # 3 in number of votes. And here's where I'm going to blow your minds--because I cheated. Uke #1 is the Martin OXK. That's right--I bought it from a local shop yesterday, and I had planned to do that, but kept it a secret to see what y'all thought. And boy was I right about it. It sounds wonderful. And it's made of sawdust and glue and plastic bottles--whatever. So ponder that, my friends. A $279 MARTIN uke made out of finger nail clippings that sounds that good.

UKE #2 is the Vintage Martin M-1.

UKE # 4 is the Mexican made S-1. Also very comfortable in the hand. I'm impressed with these new builds.

Now, for the tricky part, and I didn't fool you at all.
UKE #6 is actually two ukes: The first half is the 48-0; the second half of the song is the new 2. Unfortunately, I think I botched the recording, because one channel drops out. It probably would have been even trickier if I had used an Ohana SK38. I almost did, but in the end thought that was cheating TOO much. :-)


Sum up:

Uke Sound Test # 1 was....
A Martin OXK!

Uke Sound Test #2 was..
Vintage Martin Style 1

Uke Sound Test #3 was...
The New Style 2

Uke Test #4 was...
The Mexican made s-1

Uke Test #5 was..
The 1948 style 0

Uke Test #6 was...
The first part of the song was the 1948 Style 0, the last part the new Style 2.


MY CONCLUSION:

Martin makes great sounding ukes. They made them back then, they make them now. I guess the real test would be against Ohana, or Collings, or Kiwaya, etc. But for me, that comparison doesn't matter. I want to own and play Martin ukes because they sound great, the build is great, and they play great. I'm also into the Martin heritage, which may be snake oil to some, but it matters to me. It PLEASES me to own Martins. It's the same reason I own a Kamaka-- the history, the build, the quality, the sound.

What does this mean for me? It means I don't need a $1500 vintage tenor, or $1000 vintage concert (which doesn't mean I won't eventually buy one, haha.) I want to have a Martin of each size, just for fun, but I'm mainly a soprano player. So my guess is, the new CK1 and TK1 from Mexico will sound great (I already know the CK 1 sounds great--everytime I go into my local shop I can't get my hands off of it.)

It also means my desire for a soprano koa can be satisfied with the new Martin builds. Or a style 3 Cherry. The new builds are very close in sound to the vintage.

And I think, for those of you considering a Martin, it's also good news: if you don't want vintage, and don't want to spend $1000, you can get an extremely well made, lovely sounding instruments: the OXK is $279 street, and the all mahogany S1 is $379 street.

It's a great time to be a Martin lover. Choices from all eras!

Thanks for participating! This was fun!

kvehe
01-06-2013, 08:44 AM
Thank you so much for taking the time to do all of this! What a super, fun, revealing experiment! Okay, where's the credit card? Oh, never mind, I know my AmEx number by heart.....

Just kidding...maybe...I really do have enough....do some of us ever have enough?....

Thanks again - the little twist at the end was great.

whepper
01-06-2013, 08:48 AM
That was fun! I chose #2, so the M1. This was also the one I like the most in the named comparison. I expected #1 to be a vintage one too (was thinking that was the M1 at first, but so surprised that was the OXK! I own a S1 myself, but I wasn't able to pin it down in the blind tests (was hoping it was #2).

we tigers
01-06-2013, 08:51 AM
That OXK sounded impressive! A fun test, thank you very much for it!

OldePhart
01-06-2013, 09:04 AM
It's impressive (maybe distressing?) how many people have chosen #1 - the OXK. To me it definitely suffered in sustain and chime by a fairly wide margin from the others, I didn't much care for it even before hearing the others, but even so I wouldn't have pegged it as a laminate (of course if I'd known there was going to be a laminate in the bunch sample one is definitely the one I'd have chosen as being the laminate). I thought maybe it was the S1 - in fact, it sounded pretty close to how I recall the S1 that I played in a music store in Springfield, MO on the way back from UWC last year sounding. It does go to show that maybe as musicians we go a little too crazy obsessing over tone if 20% of players picked it as their favorite... LOL

Even more impressive was the S1, though. I honestly thought #2 and #4 were the same uke (and clip 2 was my favorite so obviously I liked clip 4 as well). If I could find an S1 that sounded that good I might have to buy it. :)

John

coolkayaker1
01-06-2013, 09:18 AM
Wow, this a very revealing test, pdx. I really appreciate your doing it.

I did pick sample #2 as the best sounding to me (and I did get it right as the 1M--it's the only one I got right).

The voting tabulations have changed since you posted the screenshot below.

Sample #2 had something slightly more refined about the sound, I thought. Just a touch less jangly, a touch more bass tones.

I totally agree with you about it showing me that there's little need for higher end Martins for sound reasons...sound is about the same, let's call it what it is. (In fact, on your initial thread about this, I was the one that said, "no difference").

I can't wait until you get a new cherry3, pdx, because it really is different sounding (with the exact same M600 strings) than the new Martin2 (the differences I have described on Petey's thread). It a heavier build, with a deeper resonance and tone. I'm really looking forward to your thoughts on that cherry3.

(You can return the lowly OXK to the shop now. You already own ukes costing five times as much that sound exactly the same. lol)

1300cc
01-06-2013, 09:42 AM
i picked up #4 and i said hoped it is made in mexico......i am right:)

rpfrogner
01-06-2013, 10:47 AM
That was a great test! Never would have guessed clip #1 was an OXK even if I had known it was part of the test group.

pdxuke
01-06-2013, 12:38 PM
Thanks to all who participated. My bottom line is this: all Martin Ukes sound great--some sound a bit greater than others. Martin has a certain sound, and there's a range of choices.

Dan Uke
01-07-2013, 06:44 AM
Thanks for the test...I am surprised by the OXK as that was my third favorite...I liked 5, 2, 1 and can't remember the other two. I have only played a pre-30s Martin and that was the sound I was looking for and liked. I wonder if this validates that Hog sounds better with age?

coolkayaker1
01-07-2013, 06:48 AM
My bottom line is this: all Martin Ukes sound great--some sound a bit greater than others. Martin has a certain sound, and there's a range of choices.

And my bottom line, based on this and the Andrew Kitakis sound test of higher end ukes, is that few ukes really and truly sound as different as people would make them out to be. (e.g everyone says that Kolohas have one of the absolute distinct sounds of any uke--yet in Andrew's test, there was no statistically significant sound distinction based on the voting of the people--that is, no more than guessing could people pick up the most distinct of ukuleles, the KoAloha).

All the conjecture about sound, sound sound is, for the most part, hogwash.

Dan Uke
01-07-2013, 07:37 AM
And my bottom line, based on this and the Andrew Kitakis sound test of higher end ukes, is that few ukes really and truly sound as different as people would make them out to be. (e.g everyone says that Kolohas have one of the absolute distinct sounds of any uke--yet in Andrew's test, there was no statistically significant sound distinction based on the voting of the people--that is, no more than guessing could people pick up the most distinct of ukuleles, the KoAloha).

All the conjecture about sound, sound sound is, for the most part, hogwash.

That is the thousand question. To some, it's not worth it but it could be worth it to those who could tell.

In the camera world, the Canon 50mm F/1.8 costs $100, F/1.4 costs $350 and the F/1.2 costs $1,400...For those that can tell the difference, it's worth the price.

coolkayaker1
01-07-2013, 08:47 AM
That is the thousand question. To some, it's not worth it but it could be worth it to those who could tell.

In the camera world, the Canon 50mm F/1.8 costs $100, F/1.4 costs $350 and the F/1.2 costs $1,400...For those that can tell the difference, it's worth the price.
But, the sound tests (esp. Andrew's) show, no one can tell.

mattydee
01-07-2013, 10:39 AM
But, the sound tests (esp. Andrew's) show, no one can tell.

To an extent, but that test was FAR from scientific. Not enough controls: The youtube codecs by their very nature certainly compressed the sound already compressed by Andrew's equipment. Every UUser's method of listening would be slightly different - speakers, earbuds, whatever. Just because you can't hear the difference doesn't mean a difference can't be heard. And just because the difference can't be quantified in a manner satisfactory to you doesn't mean that the difference doesn't exist.

coolkayaker1
01-07-2013, 11:45 AM
TAnd just because the difference can't be quantified in a manner satisfactory to you doesn't mean that the difference doesn't exist.


And just because the difference can be quantified in a manner satisfactory to you doesn't mean that the difference does exist.

Can you tell the difference? (I feel a wager coming on).

Dan Uke
01-07-2013, 11:53 AM
And just because the difference can be quantified in a manner satisfactory to you doesn't mean that the difference does exist.

Can you tell the difference? (I feel a wager coming on).

I just found that thread and I missed it!! I thought it was number 1 or 5 and I went with 1! AAArrggghh That show's you why I sold the Koaloha Tenor

However, I did get the Martin 0 correct! LOL

mattydee
01-07-2013, 11:53 AM
I can tell that there is a difference in many cases though my ear is not trained sufficiently to correctly identify it. A wager would be ridiculous in light of what I just laid out above. Who would judge? How would the controls be set?

An honest question: for the sake of argument, let's just say there is little to no difference between varying tonal characteristics of ukes. If that's true why do you, Steve, have so many? Shouldn't one be enough, or at most one in each size? This is truly an honest question. I'm not trying to call you out.

mattydee
01-07-2013, 12:09 PM
Wow, this a very revealing test, pdx. I really appreciate your doing it.

I did pick sample #2 as the best sounding to me (and I did get it right as the 1M--it's the only one I got right).

The voting tabulations have changed since you posted the screenshot below.

Sample #2 had something slightly more refined about the sound, I thought. Just a touch less jangly, a touch more bass tones.

I totally agree with you about it showing me that there's little need for higher end Martins for sound reasons...sound is about the same, let's call it what it is. (In fact, on your initial thread about this, I was the one that said, "no difference").

I can't wait until you get a new cherry3, pdx, because it really is different sounding (with the exact same M600 strings) than the new Martin2 (the differences I have described on Petey's thread). It a heavier build, with a deeper resonance and tone. I'm really looking forward to your thoughts on that cherry3.

(You can return the lowly OXK to the shop now. You already own ukes costing five times as much that sound exactly the same. lol)

Wait! What? I just went back and re-read the thread. You do hear a difference. Enough to quantify for yourself a favorite, AND correctly identify it. And then you go back on it. Are you just being ornery? I don't get it...

OldePhart
01-07-2013, 12:41 PM
But, the sound tests (esp. Andrew's) show, no one can tell.

No, they show only that no one who tried the test could reliably tell from the YouTube video or MP3 that Andrew posted. Most people who have "put in the time" with critical listening can detect the degredation even in a max rate, highest quality mp3 vs. an original if they listen carefully. Then, you put that mp3 into a video and host it at YouTube where they really butcher the soundtracks and, yeah, most people aren't going to be able to tell a Dolphin from a KoAloha. :)

And we haven't even started talking about the recording equipment and conditions yet.

And then, even if you've got a perfect, uncompressed signal recorded from a $6k Neumann microphone in an acoustically perfect studio you've still lost a lot of audio information over what the uke sounded like live.

In the Martin test the #1 uke was quite noticeably inferior in my ears - not bad, you understand, just inferior to the other samples. If I had known that there was going to be a laminate in the bunch the #1 sample is the one I would have chosen as being the laminate without any question. The other samples were much more difficult to distinguish between and I actually basically chose the S1 as the second best of the lot - much to my surprise. :)

But, live, and especially playing when playing the instruments, there are a ton of things that simply aren't going to show up in a compressed audio or (especially) video clip. I'm betting everybody here would have voted much differently if they'd actually been playing those instruments, or even just in the room with someone else playing them, even if they were blindfolded.

Edit to add: I forgot another factor - the ability to listen critically. In those clips I pretty much ignored the strummed parts - rapid strumming reveals relatively little about the quality of an instrument. Go back and listen very intently to the parts where the individual open strings are plucked - that's where the difference between the various instruments, and especially between sample one and all the others, is most clearly illustrated.

John

earljam
01-07-2013, 03:36 PM
Mostly the sound is in your hands. John King recorded his classical ukulele book on a $250 uke.

Dan Uke
01-07-2013, 04:27 PM
Mostly the sound is in your hands. John King recorded his classical ukulele book on a $250 uke.

And that means the average person needs to buy $1,000 ukes to make a decent C chord...You're talking bout John Freaking King!! That's like saying I should be able to shoot par in golf because Tiger Woods did it at age 5!!

This is a great thread for an ESL!! I learned subvert and ornery!!

mattydee
01-07-2013, 04:51 PM
No, they show only that no one who tried the test could reliably tell from the YouTube video or MP3 that Andrew posted. Most people who have "put in the time" with critical listening can detect the degredation even in a max rate, highest quality mp3 vs. an original if they listen carefully. Then, you put that mp3 into a video and host it at YouTube where they really butcher the soundtracks and, yeah, most people aren't going to be able to tell a Dolphin from a KoAloha. :)

And we haven't even started talking about the recording equipment and conditions yet.

And then, even if you've got a perfect, uncompressed signal recorded from a $6k Neumann microphone in an acoustically perfect studio you've still lost a lot of audio information over what the uke sounded like live.

In the Martin test the #1 uke was quite noticeably inferior in my ears - not bad, you understand, just inferior to the other samples. If I had known that there was going to be a laminate in the bunch the #1 sample is the one I would have chosen as being the laminate without any question. The other samples were much more difficult to distinguish between and I actually basically chose the S1 as the second best of the lot - much to my surprise. :)

But, live, and especially playing when playing the instruments, there are a ton of things that simply aren't going to show up in a compressed audio or (especially) video clip. I'm betting everybody here would have voted much differently if they'd actually been playing those instruments, or even just in the room with someone else playing them, even if they were blindfolded.

Edit to add: I forgot another factor - the ability to listen critically. In those clips I pretty much ignored the strummed parts - rapid strumming reveals relatively little about the quality of an instrument. Go back and listen very intently to the parts where the individual open strings are plucked - that's where the difference between the various instruments, and especially between sample one and all the others, is most clearly illustrated.

John

Exactly. Thanks for articulating that more clearly than I could.

pdxuke
01-07-2013, 07:10 PM
And yet 18% of listeners preferred the OXK. I find that remarkable, and don't think anyone should be embarrassed by that. All of those Martins sound great, and while I, too, p[refer my 0, I love owning and playing every one of them.

Bravo, Martin! Past and Present! Onward!